[Dixielandjazz] Just Say No - Was Economics of OKOM

budtuba at aol.com budtuba at aol.com
Fri Mar 13 10:16:15 PDT 2009

 Good point Steve Barbone,

For those of us playing OKOM over the years, the idea of waiting for big gigs to come along is not going to cut it.? Our band has a price schedule that we hand out when requested, but one caveat is that we evaluate gigs to take,? based on three factors:

1.? Pay possible.

This is the most obvious criterion.? While the pay received compensate us for the travel expenses to the gig, the time we spend in the gig and getting to and from, or not.? Many gigs would imply we have to spend some money for our hobby.

2.? Audience response. 

Who is the audience likely to be and do we have experience with them from past performances.? We might even turn down gigs that pay well, if the audience is likely to be over socializing among themselves while we are playing.

3.? Societal value.

Is the gig promoting OKOM music and/or likely to raise the appreciation of where jazz and ragtime came from?? Is the gig going to benefit some effort that we feel is important.? 

We have played several times for library support groups because we think that libraries are important to the community and that they are sources of music both printed and recorded.? These gigs usually also have great audiences.? This summer they are PAYING us to play for their anniversary!

We recently played a Mardis Gras show for a theatrical group and used one of their girl vocalists who we taught a dozen old tunes she never had heard of.? (Imagine never hearing of All Of Me?)? We got paid, but about 1/2 of our regular pay, nonetheless, a great evening for all.

We also allow each band member to have one free gig per year with no questions asked.? These also lead to increasing our fan base.

I have played strolling trio gigs at a local race track that paid well, and had a great audience we didn't expect.? We were instructed NOT to be during a race, but could start a tune only after the winning odds were displayed, etc.? These turned out to be very pleasurable and led to additional gigs as race fans also tend to host parties.

I played a college reunion with a marching band that paid well, had a good audience response, a great meal, AND introduced us to an alumnus who marched with us an had his own OKOM band down in the sleepy South.

Our appearance at the Pennsylvania Jazz Society at Easton really didn't cover the time and expenses of driving down, but I did get to get to meet Steve Barbone F2F and we'd go back in a heartbeat.

Tomorrow I'm playing the St Patrick's parade with a fireman's band.? We'll get just enough money to buy some green beer at the afterglow party.

Music has been my hobby for 60 years now and I know that if I just waited for gigs to come along that were a result of the customer looking for OKOM and willing to pay scale, they would have never happened.? Therefore, we joyfully look forward to gigs funded by arts' grants.


Roy (Bud) Taylor
Smugtown Stompers Jazz Band
Trad Jazz since 1958...we ain't just whistling dixie!



-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen G Barbone <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: BudTuba at aol.com

Cc: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>

Sent: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 12:16 pm
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Just Say No - Was Economics of OKOM

Regarding the problem of bookers and musicians who de-value the music, Paul Edgerton suggested we copy Nancy Reagan famous drug slogan and (concerning low or no wage Dixieland gigs) "just say no".?

That the slogan has never worked because just like druggies who are still addicted to drugs, 40 years later, there is a large population of jazz musicians who are addicted to "playing without pay". And both will do anything just to get a fix. They are mentally unable to just say no.?

If we are to eliminate druggies and musicians who will do anything to get their fix, perhaps what we really need to do  is send Guido around to either adjust their attitudes, or really eliminate them. <grin>?

Or perhaps the rest of us need to learn how to market our musical product in a manner that overcomes those who are selfishly screwing up the market.?

Ask Ross Anderson how he does it.?


Steve Barbone?





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